Volleyball Falls to Top-Seeded Flyers, Comes Back Against Duquesne

Dayton rolled past Fordham to remain perfect but the Rams bounced back for a crucial win against Duquesne as an imposing stretch to end the season and push for the Atlantic 10 Championship is well underway.


The volleyball team split its two games between Dayton and Duquesne (courtesy of Fordham Athletics).

On Friday, the Rams lost to the Atlantic 10’s top seeded University of Dayton Flyers in straight sets, yet rallied the following evening after dropping the first set to beat the Duquesne University Dukes.

Honoring Breast Cancer Awareness month, Fordham Volleyball donned pink as they took the court against the Dayton Flyers. The hosts had taken one set from the Flyers earlier in the month, the first time they had done that since 2017. The visiting team held an impressive 13-game winning streak heading into Friday night’s match, and over the past 13 seasons, has posted a 162–14 conference play record. 

The defending champs swept Fordham 16–25, 21–25, 11–25. Although the score does not reflect it, the Rams started off better than they finished. They had 11 kills in the first set at a .172 clip, racked up seven kills with a .100 hitting percentage in the second and by the third set had six kills at .026 efficiency.

The following night, their efficiency was drastically different: hitting .338 overall compared to the Dukes’ .242 percentage. Sophomore middle blocker Izzy Fichtel notched a career-high 16 kills and led the way offensively for the Rams, also adding eight blocks.

Entering the game, Fichtel’s plan of attack was open for change. “I try not to really have concrete goals before games because there are a lot of factors that impact my position’s job that can’t be planned for,” they said. “It is always the intention of middle blockers to help diversify our offense in order to make it easier on our other hitters.”

The Rams dropped the first set yet won the next three for a final line of 18–25, 25–20, 25–17, 25–18. The squad had their most kills of the season with 64 and third most blocks with 13.5. Junior setter Megan Brzozowski moved up in all-time ranks, achieving 1,669 assists to place her at ninth in program history. 

The Rams now have five regular-season games left, facing number two Saint Louis University, Davidson College in fourth and then third place Virginia Commonwealth University, and ending with two matches against seventh-ranked University of Rhode Island. The Rams are sixth in the A-10 and must maintain that spot in order to make it to the conference tournament the weekend of Nov. 18 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“It’s definitely a turning point for our chance to qualify for the A-10 championship because this really solidified us in sixth place,” Fichtel notes. Moody echoed the same sentiment, stating how important it was for the Rams to beat a team they lost to in their last matchup.

“Winning our match against Duquesne on Saturday meant a lot to our team considering that we lost to them during the first half of conference play. We are really hoping to use it as a turning point to turn our season around and become even more competitive in the A-10.”

Last season was the first time they had secured a spot in playoffs in a decade and came into this season predicted to finish fourth in the preseason coaches poll. After this weekend, they are 7–15 overall and 4–7 in conference play. Although their current rank does not match the predicted spot, they are ranked fourth in the A-10 in blocks with 82 (2.09 per set), behind Davidson, St. Louis and Dayton. They rank last in aces, with 1.17 per set, while Dayton holds the first place spot with 1.95. Dayton had eight aces in Friday’s game at the Rose Hill Gym, while the Rams only had two, both from freshman Ryan Naumann. 

Moody says the team’s eyes are all on the postseason: “Moving ahead toward the last regular-season games, our focus is entirely on the A-10 Championship Tournament! We have three tough home matches this weekend that we’re looking forward to and then we play back-to-back games against Rhode Island next weekend.” 

Heading into the next games, she notes, “This weekend will be an opportunity for us to show how we have grown and adapted throughout conference play to beat some teams who have taken Ws against us in the past. Overall, we’re super excited to continue fighting for that A-10 tournament spot and we’re looking forward to showing the conference that we deserve to be there!”